I got an opportunity to hike with my son yesterday, so we chose to go to Mt. Moriah. There were several reasons for this. One, with only two left on my list and Carrigain chosen for my finisher of the 48, Moriah was the obvious choice. Two, I wanted to see how my son would do on a 10 mile hike. I want him to come to Carrigain with us because he’s been with me for a good number of peaks, but I don’t want to take him on a hike he’s not physically ready to hike. To that end, I chose to hike up via Stony Brook and Carter-Moriah Trails.
We got up really early and headed towards Gorham. My son brought a blanket and took a nice nap in the car, sleeping from around Plymouth, NH to the point of turning onto Rt. 2, headed towards Gorham. We arrived at the trail, and after finding the parking we were on our way. The parking lot is *immediately* on the left after turning off of Rt. 16, about two miles south of Gorham, right next to the blocks of mailboxes. I didn’t see it right away and had to turn around.
We headed over the first bridge at 8:10a, and were on our way! The first portion of the trail is really nice and well blazed. Of course after the trails I was on earlier this week, this trail seemed wonderful! The trail follows Stony Brook for quite a while with another little bridge crossing and is really pretty, lots of rocks, rushing water, pools, and mossy rocks. It is everything you’d want in a nice brook side trail. The grade is gentle and footing is good.
The trail then makes stream crossing and continues to ascend a gentle grade, following what looked like to be an old bridle path or logging road, wide in several sections. After a few more brook crossings, the grade started to steepen, and go over rocks, but not so steep as to be unbearable or difficult. After a mile or so of the steeper section, we came to the intersection of the Stony Brook and Carter-Moriah Trails which is actually on some bog bridges.
We took a left turn here to head towards Mt. Moriah. This section is where the views start to open up, as the trail goes over quite a few ledges in the 1.4 miles to Moriah. This portion of the trail has cairns in places and is a nice change from the rocky of the upper portion of Stony Brook. It is nice to have variety of terrain within a hike. Soon enough we were at the junction of the Carter-Moriah and Kenduskeag Trails.
We turned left to hike the last .1 of a mile to the summit and were faced with a steep, chimney-like section. My son was hoping we didn’t have to climb it, but we had to. Nonetheless, he quickly climbed up like a little spider and was headed toward the summit spur. There are signs at the summit spur, although you’ll have to almost turn around to see the one for the summit. We found both markers for the summit and then sat down to enjoy a break and lunch.
After enjoying the sunshine and views, and taking some pictures, we decided it was time to head back to the car. The hike out went rather quickly, as my son made up an story about an ant that was having his own White Mountain adventures on many of the same peaks that my son has already been on and some of the animals (moose, bear, beaver, mouse, spider) that the ant encountered along the way. It was in adventure TV show format complete with commercials and gear sponsors (Ant Mountain Sports and Mountain Antwear) and took long enough to get us about a mile from the car. It also kept my son moving along, so that it took only a couple of hours to get back to the car, and avoided having to use any bug repellent. The only bugs we ran into all day were the usual mosquitoes near the boggy areas and the stream.
We were back at the car at 3:15p and had a great day! My son did a great job on his first 10 mile hike, and seems to be fine this morning. We stopped for bagels in Gorham and in Lincoln for a few things including a stop at Mountain Wanderer for my son to meet Steve Smith. My son thought that meeting Steve Smith was great, and really enjoyed getting to meet someone with so much love and knowledge of the White Mountains.
Only one more to go for me. At the moment, and weather/family permitting, it looks like we’ll be hiking to Mt. Carrigain via the Signal Ridge Trail to finish my 48 on Saturday, July 23, 2011. Then I get to help my son and husband finish theirs!